PhotoRemember Hurricane Irene? The storm that roared up the East Coast at the end of August may seem like a distant memory for some. But it's still very real if your life hasn't returned to normal. Tammy, of Clinton, Md., says falling trees damaged her home and three vehicles, while knocking down power lines. She says her insurance company, The Hartford, has been less than helpful.

“The adjuster did not inspect the property until September 7,” Tammy told  “My son and I were unable to remain in the home as there was no power and Pepco would not reconnect the lines until electrical work was complete.  Hartford stated I would have to pay for the tree-cutting and removal, the electrician, contractor, the loss-of-use expenses and and submit for reimbursement.  The total cost thus far is almost $8,000 and I have yet to receive one penny from Hartford after submitting receipts and paid invoices as instructed.

"My funds are down to $32 and I can no longer afford the hotel we were staying in.”

Tammy should call the office of Maryland's Insurance Administration to find out if this kind of delay is normal. Doesn't sound like it should be, even after a natural disaster.

Too Hot

For months, some U.S. consumers have reported problems with the Cuisinart coffeemakers. Here's a similar report from north of the border.

“My Cuisinart coffee maker is about one year old,” said Shelley, of Coldstream, British Columbia. “I was in my home office when I could hear a crackling sound coming from the kitchen. My coffee maker was smoking and the coffee in the pot, about a cup, was actually boiling! I could smell a terrible burning plastic smell. I unplugged the unit and smoke continued to come from the element and the back of the unit. I thought I was going to have to throw it outside! Thank goodness I was home.”

If you have one of these coffeemakers, it might be wise to unplug it when it's not in use.

Coming around

Owners of flat screen TVs are well aware of capacitor plague, when these small electronic components fail, rendering the expensive TVs useless.

“On Sept 18 my 46 inch Samsung TV started clicking when I tried to turn it on,”John, of Grand Junction, Conn., told “I got online and found that Samsung had bad capacitors in the TV`s that were made in 2008. I called them and was told they were no longer repairing the TVs free. The next day I brought it into a repair shop and had three bad capacitors replaced at a cost of $89.45. On Sept 22 I received a call from Samsung and was told they would make the repair. I told the lady that I just paid to get it repaired. She said for that reason she couldn't reimburse me.”

John said he doesn't understand why Samsung won't reimburse him if they were willing to pay for the repair. Most certainly, there is probably a company policy that explains it. What we find most interesting is that Samsung is willing to pay for out-of-warranty repairs to TVs with bad capacitors. Samsung owners should remember this if, and when, their TVs fail.

'Not a spammer'

Candace, of Anaheim, Calif., is angry that Facebook has flagged her as a spammer. It happens, she says, when she sends friend requests that receive no response.

“I was logged out one day, and forced to log in again to an insulting prompt, which informed me that I must be a spammer, and such, I could not request friends or send messages for 7sevendays,” Candace said. “Then I was forced to agree not to send friend requests or messages to people I don't know - something I was NOT doing!”

Candice also expressed frustration that there is no way to contact someone as Facebook. She isn't the first person to express that frustration.

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